Democratic political consultant indicted for role in triggering robocalls

A Democratic political consultant has been indicted for his role in launching artificial intelligence-based robocalls to impersonate US President Joe Biden.

According to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, on May 23, New Orleans political consultant Steven Cramer, who worked for rival candidate Dean Phillips, was charged with impersonating a candidate during of the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

He allegedly used artificial intelligence to create and send thousands of automated calls to New Hampshire residents to imitate President Biden’s voice, telling people not to vote.

Steve Kramer. Source: Alex Seitz-Wald/NBC

The scam calls relayed a message asking people to “save their vote for the November election,” adding, “Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.”

Prosecutor John Formella filed 13 counts of voter suppression and 13 counts of misdemeanor identity theft against the 54-year-old.

The FCC proposed fining Cramer $6 million, saying the robocalls violated caller ID rules.

The phone company that made the calls, Lingo Telecom, now faces a $2 million fine from the FCC for “improperly reporting (the calls) to the highest level of caller ID authentication.” the appellant and reduces the likelihood that other suppliers will do so. Detect potentially spoofed calls.

“I hope that our enforcement measures send a strong signal of deterrence to anyone who might consider interfering in the election, whether using artificial intelligence or otherwise,” said Attorney General Formella.

Clear FCC Liability Notice. source: Federal Communications Commission

Kramer defended his actions, according to an NBC report in February. In it, he claimed to have planned the fake robocalls from the start as an act of civil disobedience aimed at drawing attention to the dangers of artificial intelligence in politics.

“This is the way for me to make a difference,” he said in the interview at the time, “and I did it, for $500 I got the equivalent of 5 millions of dollars in action, whether it’s media attention or regulatory action.” “

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Growing concerns have been raised that AI-generated content could mislead voters in the run-up to the 2024 election.

The Biden campaign said it had prepared for threats such as malicious deepfakes generated by artificial intelligence and had “assembled an interdepartmental team to prepare for the potential impacts of artificial intelligence in this election ”, according to Reuters.

In March, Cointelegraph reported on the rise in AI-generated deepfakes during election season, noting that it would be critical for voters to spot them.

In February, twenty of the largest AI technology companies pledged to prevent their software from influencing elections.

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